Posts Tagged ‘C&O 1309’

State Money Now Flowing to WMSR Project

May 19, 2017

State money is finally starting to flow into the coffers of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and its contractors who have been seeking to restore a former Chesapeake & Ohio steam locomotive to operating condition this year.

Trains magazine reported this week that the WMSR and its contractors have received payments totaling $128,772

A spokesman for the Maryland State Treasurer’s Office said checks for $30,000 and $24,396 are expected to be written by next week, bringing total payments to $183,168.

Restoration work of C&O No. 1309, a 2-6-6-2, is being done at the railroad’s shop in Ridgeley, West Virginia.

Earlier this year, the restoration work was halted due to the lack of funding from the state, which had agreed to give a $400,000 capital grant to help pay for the restoration of the locomotive to operating condition. The restoration is expected to cost $1 million.

The locomotive was originally scheduled to make its first revenue trip in early July, but that has been canceled.

Trains said that the WMSR doesn’t expect to announce a date for the first run for another two weeks. That is expected to be in the fall.

WMSR bought No. 1309 from the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum in 2014. The ex-C&O Class H6 is one of the last locomotives built by Baldwin Locomotive Works for use in the United States.

Restoration Resumes on C&O 1309

May 11, 2017

Restoration work has resumed on returning former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 to operating condition, Trains magazine reported this week.

The work was paused for two months while the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad worked with state officials to obtain funding.

The WMSR was authorized to receive a $400,000 matching grant from the state, but WMSR General Manager John Garner told Trains that raising $400,000 for a single project, while also trying to run the railroad has made it difficult for officials to maintain a steady cash flow.

Garner said contractors will need eight weeks to complete their work before the 1309 is ready to take the rails.

The remaining work includes preparations for a hydrostatic test for the boiler followed by reassembly work if the test shows the locomotive will safely hold steam and water under pressure.

Railroad officials have not yet said when they expect the 1309, which was built in 1949, to be ready for its maiden trip.

1309 Restoration Work Halted for Lack of Funds

April 28, 2017

Financial issues are preventing the completion of restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 to operating conditions.

The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad had said No. 1309 would make its maiden journey after restoration on July 1.

But slow reimbursements from the State of Maryland have jeopardized that. John Garner, superintendent of the WMSR, said all restoration work was halted in early March due to lack of funding.

Last year the Maryland governor’s office earmarked $400,000 in a matching grant to help with the restoration of No. 1309.

Garner says that the WMSR must spend its own capital dollars before reimbursement can be processed by the state.

Seeking to raise the railroad’s matching share of $400,000 while trying to continue regular operations has proven difficult for the WMSR.

Garner said state officials are working to give railroad vendors the status of approved state contractors and to also approve vendors’ invoices.

“It’s all up to the state now; if [the state] cuts a check loose tomorrow, we go back to work,” he said, adding that he can’t predict when the 1309 restoration will be completed and when the locomotive will operate.

He did say that another eight weeks of work is needed to get No. 1309 operational.

Among the remaining work to be completed is a hydrostatic test for the boiler and reassembly work if the test shows the locomotive will safely hold steam and water under pressure.

Those who have purchased tickets for the planned July 1 runs are being given refunds or re-booked on a July 4 weekend excursion. The WMSR is offering $10 vouchers good for train rides, gift shop purchases or on-board services.

Trains to Sponsor C&O 1309 Charter

March 17, 2017

Trains magazine and the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad will offer a photo charter for Chesapeake & Ohio No. 1309 in late September.

The restored locomotive will pull a freight train with 14 to 18 cars on Sept. 26 to 28, stopping at several locations on the 17-mile railroad.

Among the photo locations will be Helmstetter’s Curve. No. 1309, which was built in 1949, will wear its C&O markings and at times have Western Maryland lettering.

The event will also include a night photo shoot, cab access, and an audio-visual program detailing the restoration of the locomotive.

Tickets are $495 apiece and only 80 will be sold.  Tickets may be purchased at 800-TRAIN-50 or at wmsr.com.

C&O 1309 Tickets Sales Have Been Strong

January 28, 2017

Tickets sales for excursions behind the restored Chesapeake & Ohio No. 1309 have been good enough to prompt the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad to add trips to accommodate more passengers.

Western Maryland ScenicThe additional trips behind the 2-6-6-2 Mallet will be run in the latter half of 2017.

“At the moment, we’re selling about $2,000 worth of tickets per day. Once word more generally gets out, it will rise steadily,” project manager John Hankey told Trains magazine.

The 1309 has been in restoration since the WMSR purchased it in June 2014 from the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum.

The WMRS is aiming at a July 1 inaugural run for the locomotive. Hankey said the Federal Railroad Administration is expected to complete a boiler inspection soon and a hydrostatic test could be undertaken by the end of February.

Flues, tubes and applicances must still be attached and Hankey expects trial runs under steam to be conducted in May.

C&O 1309 Inaugural Run Set for July 1

January 13, 2017

The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad has hired a locomotive restoration company to help it with the rebuilding of Chesapeake & Ohio No. 1309.

Western Maryland ScenicWMSR President Mike Brant said bringing in Diversified Rail Services of Rossville, Georgia, will enable the shops to complete rebuilding the 2-6-6-2 by Memorial Day.

Project manager John Hankey said workers are set to begin installing staybolts and will begin placing the flues back in place in early March.

After that the locomotive will undergo a hydrostatic test and receive its boiler lagging and jacket.

The inaugural run of the 1309 has been set for July 1 and tickets are on sale for that.

Brant said the WMSR’s small shop force could not have completed the 1309 restoration in the time frame the railroad wanted without some help.

Aside from rebuilding the 1309, the WMSR shops will also be rebuilding its passenger car fleet with the help of a $250,000 grant from the state of Maryland.

WMSR Shop Tour Set for Nov. 20

November 12, 2016

A tour of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad shops is being offered on Nov. 20 and will feature at look at Chesapeake & Ohio No. 1309, which is being restored there to operating condition.

Western Maryland ScenicThe five-hour tour is being sponsored by the Washington Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society and will be led by John Hankey, the tourist railroad’s curator.

Hankey has been involved with WMS since its founding 30 years ago.

Aside from viewing C&O H-6 Mallet class 2-6-6-2 No. 1309, tour participants will inspect the WMSR locomotive fleet, have lunch, and take a short “rare mileage” trip to the former Western Maryland wye and yard at Maryland Junction.

C&O 1309 Restoration Reported as Going Well

June 14, 2016

Although they haven’t said when it will operate, Western Maryland Scenic Railroad officials said that restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 is progressing well.

Western Maryland ScenicWestern Maryland Scenic Railroad Superintendent John Garner told Trains magazine that significant progress occurred with the purchase of stay bolts – which hold a boiler in place – and other needed supplies.

The WMS has received a $400,000 grant from the state of Maryland to be used in the restoration work and has launched a GoFundMe page seeking approximately $260,000 in additional money to restore the 1309 to operating condition.

This includes paying employees and experts to finish the restoration work.

W. Md. Scenic Gets Grant to Rebuild Steamer

May 17, 2016

The state of Maryland has given the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad a $400,000 grant that will be used to fund the restoration to operating condition of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309.

Under the terms of the grant, the WMS must provide matching funding.

Western Maryland ScenicAlthough restoration work has been paused recently as the railroad prepared for the 2016 excursion season, Western Maryland Superintendent John Garner told Trains magazine that work on the 1309 should resume soon.

“All of the big ticket items were bought and paid for in advance — now we are just down to reassembling [the locomotive] once we get the stay bolts back in,” Garner said.

The magazine said that next up for the shop crews is purchasing stay bolts, performing additional
wheel work, making in-cab improvements and doing electric work.

Garner predicted the restoration would be completed before the 2017 excursion season gets underway.

The WMS is also seeking to address a track washout that occurred last winter that severed the route to Frostburg, Maryland.

State officials are removing debris and coal from a former mine site and improving the drainage system to prevent future incidents.

The state is paying for the work and the line may reopen as soon as August.

For now, the WMS is offering excursions between Cumberland and a siding near switch No. 9.

C&O 1309 Firebox in ‘Like New’ Condition

November 28, 2015

Workers restoring Chesapeake & Ohio No. 1309 report that the firebox of the 2-6-6-2 locomotive is in “like new condition.”

The restoration is being undertaken at the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. Officials of Steam Operation Corporation conducted an ultrasound study of the locomotive’s boiler last month and conclude that the C&O might have replaced the firebox late in the engine’s service career.

The testing showed several areas of the boiler and rear tube sheet that had erosion and other potential issues.

Although the boiler and rear tube sheet meet current Federal Railroad Administration standards, they will need to be patched in several places within the next three to five years.

Western Maryland Scenic General Superintendent Mike Gresham said the timeline to return the 1309 to service has been delayed in order to give shop forces additional time to make those patches and bring the boiler into substantially “as-built” condition.

“Although we could operate No. 1309 without repair to some of the corrosion damaged areas, it’s really the only logical decision to make repairs now while the locomotive is disassembled even if it means a delay to [No. 1309’s] return to service. Otherwise, we’d have to be making significant repairs to No. 1309 in three to five years,” Gresham said.

The Western Maryland Scenic has launched a “1309 Completion Campaign” fundraising effort that is seeking to reap $200,000. The railroad hopes to have the 1309 pulling trains by mid-2016.

“From its beginning, this has been a grassroots effort without the direct support of major corporations or the railroad industry,” WM officials wrote in a letter to supporters.

Donors who give a gift of $500 or greater will receive cab ride in the 1309 during a regularly scheduled excursion.

A donation of $1,000 or greater will earn 30 minutes of throttle time, which increases to an hour with a gift of $2,000 or more.

The 1309 is expected to return to service on July 24, 2016.